31 March 2020 - 7 Nisan 5780 - ז' ניסן ה' אלפים תש"פ
Israeli billionaires in Forbes list 2019 E-mail

As in previous years, Forbes magazine has published its annual list of the world’s wealthiest individuals.

According to the Forbes 2019 World Billionaires list, 21 Israelis are in the rankings. Technically speaking, Roman Abramovich, ranked 107, is now the wealthiest Israeli, with a fortune of US$12.4 billion. He received Israeli citizenship last May, but Forbes lists him as Russian.

The wealthiest Israeli as defined by Forbes is again Eyal Ofer, who is ranked 149, with a fortune of US$9.4 billion, down from 145 last year with US$9.2 billion. In second place is Stef Werheimer, ranked 303, with US$5.7 billion, down from 269 in 2018 with US$5.6 billion. In third place is Israel’s wealthiest woman, Shari Arison, ranked 355 with US$5 billion, down from 334 last year with US$4.9 billion. In fourth place is Idan Ofer, ranked 394 with US$4.7 billion, up from 631 last year with US$3.1 billion. Teddy Sagi has risen from 631 last year with US$3.1 billion to 546 this year with US$3.8 billion. Patrick Drahi, who has Israeli citizenship but is listed as French, is ranked 190, with US$8 billion.

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Arkia airlines to launch India flights E-mail

Arkia Israel Airlines Ltd. recently announced that it would introduce two new flight routes to India. They will be flying to Goa and Cochin in the state of Kerala.

Arkia is joining El Al Israel Airlines Ltd., which operates direct flights to Mumbai, and Air India, which flies from Tel Aviv to Delhi on a shorter route passing above Saudi Arabia.

Arkia will operate the new flights from September 2019 using recently acquired Airbus 321neoLR airliners. Flights will take seven hours and will take place all year round, except for the summer in Israel, which is the monsoon season in India. The flights to Goa will take off on Tuesdays, while there will be two weekly flights to Cochin. Flights will take off on Mondays and Fridays in SeptemberOctober, and on Sundays and Thursdays starting on 27 October.

Since the frequency of the flights does not meet the criteria for obtaining grants from the Ministry of Tourism for operating flights to new destinations, Arkia will not receive a grant. Last year, Arkia began direct flights to Bangkok, joining EL AL. Arkia CEO Nir Dagan said that the airline would offer direct access “to preferred destinations at equal prices for everyone... For India, the state of Kerala, and the destinations that we selected have been the dream of Israelis from all parts of the tourist spectrum.”

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Beresheet spacecraft takes selfies Print E-mail

In March, the Israeli spacecraft Beresheet took its first selfie more than 23,000 miles from Earth.

The selfie shows Earth in the background – with Australia visible – as well as a plaque installed on the spacecraft that shows an Israeli flag and the words Am Yisrael Chai (the nation of Israel lives) and “Small Country, Big Dreams”. The spacecraft transmitted the image back to the control room, located in Yehud in central Israel.

It also recently sent home a video of a sunrise from the spacecraft’s point of view before it enters the moon’s orbit. The lunar lander is expected to land on the moon’s surface on 11 April. The landing site has been identified as the northeastern part of Mare Serenitatis, or the Sea of Serenity, a flat area on the moon’s surface. The Beresheet spacecraft is a joint venture between private companies SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries.

(Issue Apr 2019)

David Irving not welcome in Poland E-mail

Poland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that British Holocaust denier David Irving is not welcome to visit Poland, reported the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Irving is taking deposits on his website for the tour of Nazi historical sites scheduled for September, including visits to the sites of the Nazi death camps Treblinka, Belzec, Sobibor and Majdanek. “British Holocaust denier David Irving probably will not be able to enter Poland due to the fact that his opinions are unacceptable from the point of view of Polish law,” Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz said at a news conference in March.

Irving is planning to spend nine days in Poland in September. In addition to the former Nazi death camps, he plans to visit the bunker headquarters of Adolf Hitler known as “The Wolf’s Lair” and the headquarters of SS chief Heinrich Himmler. Similar trips took place in 2013 and 2010.

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Smartphone zombies in Tel Aviv, please pay attention Print E-mail

Following the trend of other major cities around the world, the Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality has installed the country’s first LED light strips at a pedestrian crossing, to warn people who are engrossed in texting on their smartphones.

Strips of LEDs connected to existing traffic lights have been installed at the pavement
edge and change colour at the
same time as the eye-level lights. The ground-level lighting is designed to warn pedestrians who are focusing obsessively on their smartphone screens rather than paying attention to the traffic.

Such distracted pedestrians are called “smartphone zombies”, or “smombies”, and are a worldwide phenomenon, so similar devices and warning signs have been installed in Europe, Singapore and Australia in recent years. In Tel Aviv, the LED lights are located on either side of the intersection of Ibn Gabirol and David Bloch Street, opposite the Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality’s office. They are part of a trial that will be expanded throughout the city if it is deemed a success.

(Issue Apr 2019)

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